Music doesn't get any more anonymous or corporate than the band Fuel, which performed for a sold-out audience of 2,000 Sunday at the Murat Egyptian Room.
Peddling an aggressive and vaguely miffed brand of guitar rock, Fuel aims no higher than near-Creed status.
Which isn't to say that dunderheaded Creed is a good thing. But at least that band has the on-again, off-again spirituality of Scott Stapp and an A-list guitar player in Mark Tremonti to stimulate some level of interest.
Fuel's only gimmick is that it makes slick radio hits.
The Pennsylvania band was smart enough to pair old favorites Bittersweet and Shimmer early in the show. When similarly structured new tunes Innocence and Bad Day rolled around later, it was easy to make the connection.
Current album Something Like Human (something like truth-in-advertising from these soulless hacks) will generate suffocating airplay through Labor Day.
But there's nothing about Fuel that's exceptional, enjoyable or relevant.
The 75-minute performance was numbingly repetitive, punctuated by predictable guitar solos from Carl Bell and 'party on' stage announcements from vocalist Brett Scallions.
The only time Scallions offered any depiction of personality was during an anti-violence monologue that preceded the song Jesus or a Gun. His solution? 'Let's hope for the best.'
When this defines rock, can there be any mystery to hip-hop's and teen pop's dominant reign?
On that note, opening act Buckcherry (3 1/2) was in top fighting shape. The Los Angeles quintet -- best known for the pro-cocaine anthem Lit Up -- unveiled impressive material from its upcoming sophomore effort, Time Bomb.
The songs Frontside and Whiskey in the Morning extend Buckcherry's thesis of agitated self-destruction, bolstered by an Iggy Pop attitude and Rocky Horror chords.
In addition to sinewy, rooster-haired vocalist Joshua Todd, the band features four boozily competent players. Pretty much the Rolling Stones when compared to Fuel.
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